Wednesday, 17 September 2014

C-3PO and R2-D2 in Star Wars Rebels

Entertainment Weekly recently interviewed Anthony Daniels and the veteran Star Wars actor talked about Episode VII and Rebels.

"I will tell you that when [director] J.J. Abrams rang me to ask about filming Episode VII, one of the first things he said after he told me how wonderful I was — and that didn’t take long — but he then said, “Would you be interested in being in the film just doing the voice?” I said, “No,” and he said, “Right!” He knew I’d say that. There’s no way I would just do the voice. I also said that it can’t be the same suit. I will tell you that the team then got together and built a new suit. They made an entirely new look-a-like with changes that you will never notice [on screen] that made my life a lot easier. I can get it on and off very quickly. [During the prequels], the only time [Threepio has] been CG was when it was very dangerous [to act in the scene in a suit] — and it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m going to say it was awful. One of the difficulties is with a character that you know and love so well is that, as a member of the audience, you go, “Oh no, that’s not right. No, he doesn’t move like that.” With me [in the suit], he’s always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing, and so on. With CG, you’re working with some brilliant person on the keyboard who is trying to pretend to be me. The only time that has worked without doubt is Disney’s Star Tours: The Adventures Continue [theme park ride]. There’s an element in the pre-show which is digital and I cannot tell it’s not me. It’s brilliantly done by Disney. In a cartoon series like Rebels, you accept it because it’s not trying to pretend to be reality. It’s an extension, it’s an exaggeration. On that basis, it’s utterly acceptable — providing the characterization is correct."

Daniels' candour is refreshing and his enthusiasm for both Episode VII and Rebels is infectious.

"It’s very elusive and I’ll tell you: It’s where we’re going now with Episode VII. We’re all back. And it’s great, actually, that Rebels is set before Episode IV because that film is quintessential basic, “This is Star Wars.” And you know George always used to say every time I arrived on set, I would always arrive for the first time back on set in costume, and during the prequels George would say when I arrived on set that “Star Wars has arrived” — because I was the old fashioned link. Rebels is is an old fashion link to the old fashion film, which which we all loved. And you will love Episode VII — I have electrodes strapped to my head to zap me if I say anything more about it."

Read the in-depth interview on EW.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sesame Street's Star Wars parody stars Chewie cookie!

Sesame Street and The Muppets occupy a poignant place in my formative years! So, I couldn't pass up seeing some of my most beloved childhood heroes in a galaxy, a milky way galaxy far, far away...

Star S'Mores is a peach of a parody and follows unlikely heroes as Cookie Monster tries to learn self-control and rescue the Princess from the evil Empire.

Hearing Frank Oz's Groda, a mashup of Gonzo and Yoda, is a highlight. What fun!

Use the Four.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Wars spin-off movie in the works?

Making Star Wars reports Obi-Wan Kenobi may be the next Star Wars character to receive his own spin-off movie at Disney.

"I’ve heard from quite a few people now that an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie is in the works..."

Lucasfilm has already confirmed Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank are directing two spin-off movies. So, whilst this is a rumour, the House of Mouse has made a statement of intent with regards to standalone Star Wars movies in addition to the new trilogy, which begins with Episode VII in December 2015.

Which Star Wars character would you like to see in a spin-off movie? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 12 September 2014

JJ Abrams' Apple Watch tweet hints at Star Wars

Director JJ Abrams has a passion for intrigue and unseen mystery. This is self-evident in his Bad Robot tweet pertaining to Apple's Watch announcement this week.

The background design will be familiar to Star Wars fans. It's Imperial in origin and seen aboard the Death Stars and Star Destroyers of the original trilogy.

I'd suggest it's most likely foreshadowing the resurgence of the Empire following its defeat at the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. However, some fans speculate there's a new Death Star in Episode VII.

Do you think there'll be a Death Star III? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Tick rebooted as Amazon Pilot

TheWrap reports The Tick will be rebooted as part of the next Amazon Pilot Season.

The original live-action series, following the hit animated series on the defunct children's channel Fox Kids, was short-lived despite universal acclaim in 2001.

Patrick Warburton (Family Guy) is set to reprise the role of the titular character after negotiating a deal with Sony Television who held the rights to the original series.

It's a canny leftfield move by Amazon as its original series haven't been as well received as archrival Netflix.

Which series would you like to see rebooted? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Amazon Fire TV to challenge Apple TV in Europe

Amazon has announced Fire TV is coming to Europe only months after the sleek streaming device's US debut.

Speaking on the first day of the IFA technology show in Berlin, senior vice president of devices David Limp said: "We think that the products that are out there - and we sell a lot of them on Amazon - just haven't offered customers the value that we think you can, and this is an existence proof that you can put a lot of horsepower and performance into a box, at a great value."

Fire TV ships from 23rd October. The device will be available from Amazon, Argos, Dixons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

New and existing Prime members can pre-order Fire TV for only £49 in the UK. That's a £30 saving on the listed price until Monday.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO said: "Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price- customers love Fire TV and we’re thrilled to introduce it in the UK.

"Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Sky News, YouTube, Spotify, and more."

In related news. Amazon has reported a 70% increase in streaming since rebranding LOVEFiLM.

“Customers tell us that they love exclusive content and we see that these movies and TV shows almost always enter the Top 5 most watched lists immediately”, said Chris Bird, Film Strategy Director for Amazon Prime Instant Video UK. “Since exclusive content has continuously been among the most streamed, we are very happy to announce more highlights coming up this autumn such as the Amazon Studios original series Transparent starring Jeffrey Tambor and Roman Coppola’s Mozart In The Jungle, and of course the third series of the cancelled popular British drama Ripper Street which we’re currently filming exclusively for Prime Instant Video customers and will launch later this year before broadcast on the BBC next year.”

Tempted to add another box below your TV? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Netflix nabs new drama series Gotham

Netflix, not satisfied with simply playing in Marvel's sandpit, has acquired international streaming rights to Warner Bros. Studios upcoming Batman prequel series Gotham.

“In this era of new business models and expanding windows, this is an unprecedented deal for our company and our industry,” said Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, in a statement.

Gotham chronicles a young pre-Commissioner Gordon, serving as a Detective, and his fateful meeting with Bruce Wayne in the wake of Wayne's parents murder.

“‘Gotham’ is the most anticipated new series of the fall season and we are thrilled to offer it to our members around the world,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, in a statement. “The Batman origin story is sure to have massive global appeal so it is fitting that, along with Warner Television, we have created a new model for distributing a show that international and domestic audiences will love.”

Gotham premieres on Fox this September.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

NOW TV on Google Chromecast as ITV Encore debuts

NOW TV has quietly updated its iOS and Android apps with support for Google Chromecast. The first I learnt of this was when updating NOW TV for iPad earlier today.

This doesn't displace the NOW TV Box (based on a Roku LT) for streaming catch up services, but does add another option for subscribers who own a Chromecast device.

@blindpete has pointed out Chromecast will use one of only four device slots linked to your NOW TV account.

ITV Encore is now available to Entertainment Month Pass subscribers at no additional cost! You'll be able to watch Poirot, Prey, The Widower, Monroe, Mr. Selfridge S2 and the final series of Whitechapel.

Why not sign up for an Entertainment Month Pass and get a £5 Asda voucher? New subscribers only. Offer good through 30th September.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Star Wars Rebels: "Not What You Think"

Lucasfilm and Disney XD have posted a new short for the upcoming Star Wars Rebels series.

The shorts have met with positive reaction from fans. Mostly. There's a fear Star Wars Rebels may eschew the gravitas of The Clone Wars in favour of more 'childish' pursuits. However, I'm looking forward to the new series' debut this October on Disney XD.

Psyched for Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rise of the Tomb Raider only on Xbox One

Tomb Raider, a franchise broadly synonymous with PlayStation, will see the first sequel to its successful 2013 reboot only on Xbox One. This exclusive bombshell was announced during Gamescom and ignited fan fury across the internet.

Whether or not Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive doesn't matter. Tomb Raider is a multiplatform franchise. Presumably Microsoft is bankrolling the development of the new game in the hope it'll go toe-to-toe with PS4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End during holiday 2015.

In a blog post, Crystal Dynamics chief Darrell Gallagher said the company is trying to make “the most ambitious ‘Tomb Raider’ game ever built” and that “our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in 'Tomb Raider’ and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past — we believe this will be a step to really forging the ‘Tomb Raider’ brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.”

Other Tomb Raider games will still be released on the PlayStation and PC, including December’s Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will not be disappearing from shelves.

It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine Microsoft adding Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for Xbox One (updated to run at 1080p/60fps) to Games with Gold in the coming months.

Microsoft also detailed an update for Xbox One, which will bring multimedia feature parity with Xbox 360. A media player with USB device playback and DLNA support soon.

Are you annoyed Lara Croft has switched to Xbox? Let me know in the comments below.